Google data reveals how West Sussex residents’ movements have changed since lockdown was eased

West Sussex residents have been spending more time in parks and in retail areas since lockdown was eased, figures from Google suggest.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 12:34 pm
Worthing town centre at the end of June

Google uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people’s movement in the home, retail and recreation establishments, grocery stores and pharmacies, public transport hubs, workplaces, and parks and green spaces.

The data, from Tuesday July 7, showed more people in West Sussex were spending time in public green spaces.

Time spent in parks was 98% higher than during a five-week baseline period at the start of the year, which is use to represent ‘normal’ levels activity.

It is a big increase from the first two weeks of lockdown, when the figure stood at 53% lower than the baseline (on March 29) and 21% lower (on April 5).

The data also suggests that more people are beginning to return to retail and recreational destinations, like shopping centres.

During the first week of lockdown, time spent in these areas was low – 85% lower than during the ‘normal’ period represented by the baseline figure.

But by June 23, a few days after non-essential shops were permitted to welcome back customers, the data shows that more people were spending time shopping – though still 42% less than the baseline.

The latest figures from July 7 – three days after pubs, restaurants and other leisure facilities were allowed to reopen – show a further increase, though still 32% lower than the baseline.

In other locations in West Sussex, on July 7:

– Visits to public transport hubs were 60% down on usual levels (compared to 85% down at the start of lockdown)

– Workplaces were 46% quieter than usual (compare to 56% quieter in week one of lockdown)

– Supermarkets and pharmacies saw 10% less traffic (compared to 46% less)

– People spent 15% more time at home than usual